|Congressman Chaffetz from Utah|
GLENN: Let's go to Congressman Chaffetz from Utah. Hello, Congressman.
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: Hey, Glenn.
GLENN: How are things?
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: Hey, I'm fired up.
GLENN: Ready to go?
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: Ready to go.
GLENN: Nothing better. Fired up? Ready to go! Fired up! Ready to go! Thank you for that, Barack Obama. Do you know what the supertax is? We're not talking they are not talking about one in congress yet, are they?
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: We're taxing every moment we can possibly do it.
GLENN: I'm you know what? I'm doing a segment on television tonight. If you made $60,000 a year and you lived in New York, you made $60,000 a year, I'm going to show you what you were paying last year in taxes and fees and what you are paying now, this year. And it's pretty, pretty staggering. Haven't seen all of the numbers yet but from what I have seen, pretty staggering on what you super people down in Washington have been working on.
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: Well, I can tell you here in D.C. we're spending it faster than we're evening taxing it. So
GLENN: You called me two days ago because you and I are actually working on a special project. I'm looked at Joe. Can I say? I'm not going to announce it, but can I say? I'm working on a special project because I've been looking for people that just, I don't care if I agree or disagree with you. Just clean up the corruption. And hopefully we'll be able to talk about that openly on something that I'm working with you on here in the coming days and weeks. But you called me the other day and you said, "Glenn, they're spending a big they're sending a big omnibus bill our way; we're supposed to vote on it, and I can't get a copy of it." Can you tell this story?
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: Yeah. I mean, it's I don't know how to put enough descriptors about how insane this process is, but they took six agencies, their appropriations, meshed them into one big, bad omnibus bill, I mean, this is seriously this is bad government at its worst. When the bill was originated, it was 1,088 pages, and it has to go to the rules committee before we as members of congress in the rank and file here can actually see it. It ended up being more than 2500 pages, and we voted on it roughly 24 hours after we got it. It represents half of the entire discretionary budget for the entire federal government, $446 billion, 2500 pages. There are 5,000 earmarks and at its baseline represents a 12% increase in spending for their base budgets, not counting the stimulus and all the other crap, a 12% increase over the base budget from just last year.
GLENN: Well, that's because business is so good. I mean, who doesn't expand at a point like this? Give me your fave well, first of all out of the 2400 pages, what was your favorite page?
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: They don't even number these pages. It's hard to do. I'll give you a couple that are just absolutely out of control. I've sponsored a bill to get rid of what's called the international fund for Ireland. This was started by Tip O'Neill because we somehow as a country had to help Ireland. There is nobody, but nobody in the congress and I've been working on this for literally ten months that will take responsibility and say, oh, yeah, that's my project and this is good. In fact, we called over to the ambassador from Ireland and said, what is this? And he said, oh, with well, we're working to phase that out in 2010. Well, they got it increased. Instead of paying $15 million of American people's money, we now in this omnibus bill are going to pay them $17 million.
GLENN: Do we get good coffee out of the deal?
PAT: Why do you hate the Irish so much, congressman?
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: It is just a check to the government of Ireland to say, here are $17 million.
GLENN: You know what it is, Chaffetz? You know what it is with you, Chaffetz? You are from Utah. What's the state just directly north of Utah? Idaho! Why do you hate potatoes from overseas so much!
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: I mean, it's just $3 million for bike racks in Washington D.C.? I'm reading here, I pulled one up because I thought at random I'm going to take a page. I take Page 24 of the appropriations bill regarding transportation. We're going to spend $600,000 for Sunset Boulevard streetscape beautification in California. We know how great Sunset Boulevard is. We have the Elvis Presley Boulevard improvement in Tennessee is going to get $500,000.
GLENN: Excuse me. Excuse me.
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: And $1,948,000 is going to go to the Fish Lake Trail completion in the State of Washington.
GLENN: Hold on just a second. First of all, you've never been to Fish Lake, have you?
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: I can't tell you where it is.
GLENN: It's in Washington. I can't go any deeper than that. So listen. Congressman, these are the, these are just the road and infrastructure improvements that the president has been talking about. That's all these are. These are the shovel ready projects.
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: This is insane. We're $12 trillion in debt. Next week they tell us we get to vote on a $1.8 trillion increase to the debt limit. And you still have people look in the camera and say we're serious about cutting the deficit, we're serious about this. No, we're not. We're not making any hard choices.
GLENN: Are you saying the Fish Lake Trail shouldn't happen?
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: I'm saying we've got enough Fish Lake trails. We need the American people need their money back.
GLENN: Okay. So first of all, you couldn't get the tell me the process of, okay, here's the insane omnibus bill that's coming in.
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: Right.
GLENN: You have to vote on it 24 hours later, right?
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: Yeah.
GLENN: You're trying to get a copy of it. What happens?
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: You couldn't, you couldn't get it. I mean, until it comes out of the rules committee you physically cannot get it. What happens, the House passes the bills, the Senate passes the bills, they go to conference. Well, that's a closed door meeting. Guys like me can't get in there. I'm just a member of congress. And so then they send it over to the rules committee and then it starts to get debated and then the bill goes from 1,088 pages to 2500 pages with 5,000 earmarks.
GLENN: Is that a reduction? Because we've been
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: And we vote on it the next day.
GLENN: I know that we were promised by both the Republicans and the Democrats that earmarks were disgusting and they were going to decrease them or stop them. Is that a decrease in earmarks?
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: Shockingly 5,000 earmarks is a decrease but, you know, they have what are called airdropped earmarks. These are the most egregious of all of them because they didn't go through any sort of committee process, there was no openness, transparency. They literally showed up for the first time in this report. And so I can't tell you, I still can't tell you which ones are the air dropped earmarks that literally have never seen the light of day. And that's the thing. The thing that's a shame about this bill, the reason you do an omnibus bill is to hide stuff. And you drop it in right before Christmas when nobody's paying attention and we've got all these other, you know, crises and things going on. That's why they do these bills. That's the dirty secret here that I've come to learn about how they throw in all the crap.
GLENN: So we have an average of 10% increase in domestic spending.
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: 12. 12.
GLENN: 12. We have
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: And by the way, the year before that, Glenn, was another 12%. So we did 12% and then this year we'll be doing another 12%.
GLENN: We have 5200 bipartisan earmarks at a cost of almost $4 billion.
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: 400 well, I'm sorry. Of the earmarks? You are right. The entire bill is $446 billion. But you are right, the earmarks are nearly $4 billion.
GLENN: Now, there's something else that is bothering you. And when you told me, I think my I mean, my head exploded because I believe, I believe this is the new American prison program. And a lot of people say, well, that's a nice prison to be in. But it is prison, and make no mistake. It is prison. It is a prison where you are paid $150,000 a year. You want to explain the new jobs program for the United States government, what's going on with the pay scale there?
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: Yeah, USA Today has got a good I think it's on the cover here today. I've been working with this reporter. He did a great job. This is you know, you just shudder when you say it out loud. The number of employees, federal employees that are earning more than $150,000 a year...
GLENN: Listen to this.
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: Over the last 18 months has more than doubled. So if you are a federal employee, I mean, I can name maybe a couple of dozen jobs that would justify over $150,000 a year. There are now 66,000 federal jobs that pay more than $150,000 a year. And that's in it was 30,000 just back in December of 07.
GLENN: Now, is it possible that there were just a lot of people that were making $149,900 18 months ago?
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: Yes, but still that's ridiculous. Here's the other analysis. People earning over $100,000 a year. In December of '07 that was roughly 263,000 people. Now, just 18 months later based on the numbers of June '09, 382,758 people are making more than $100,000 as a federal employee. And if you look at the numbers of who's earning over $170,000, that has gone from 11,000 plus people to over 22,000 people earning that much money. I just, there is no way to justify those numbers. It's just absolutely shocking.
GLENN: Any idea what the reason is?
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: Well, you know, there were some across the board pay levels. One of the arguments that you hear is that, oh, well, we've got to pay market rates and we've got to do this and all that.
GLENN: Let the market... I'm sorry, congressman. Let the market pay market rates.
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: Exactly. But what you what I think you see is an aging workforce, and they continue to say, "Oh, we're not paid, we're not paid, we're not compensated." We have the very low turnover rate in the federal government. That to me as a business person indicates that we're paying too much! We should have a much higher turnover rate. If we had a higher turnover rate, that means that you're probably not paying maybe as much as you could if you wanted to increase that. But at the federal government I don't want to do that. I don't want to do that. So we're paying so much, people don't leave these jobs. They don't
GLENN: I will tell you this. I think it is this is why I say it's slavery. If you are working at a job where you are making $100,000 a year and it's a bureaucracy, I mean, you are not really expected to do anything, you are not really expected, there's no real "Hold your feet to the fire," you are not going to lose your job because, I mean, you can't get fired. You are not going to lose your job because the government's not going to go out of business, or so you'll think. All of these things are happening. Why not? This is why the Soviet Union was the Soviet Union. Only the people that would leave that job would be the people that would like to have a little bit of self respect. If you can't lose your job, if you are not expected to perform and you make an awful lot of money that you can't replace in the private sector, who leaves that job? And you become more and more enslaved to the system. You work forever at that job and you don't leave because you don't have any self respect anymore. You're not required to compete. You're not required to do anything. You punch in, you punch out, you become a DMV worker. I'm sorry. I'm sorry, but this system is absolutely, this is going to lead us to the economic glories of the Soviet Union. It's going to.
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: It's absolutely shocking. We're adding, the federal government is adding about 10,000 new jobs a month to our payroll.
GLENN: Of course they are. They have to create new jobs. All right. Congressman Chaffetz, let me ask you one last question.
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: Sure.
GLENN: Nancy Pelosi said, "I really like this whole Medicare option now." I think this has been the plan from the beginning because they can say, okay, there's no public option. But help me out on this one. Two questions: One, how do you make sure that it's not going to cost the American people a trillion dollars by cutting Medicare and finding the fraud in Medicare but then instead of the public option, you expand Medicare? How, how does that work exactly?
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: That's the insanity that is Washington, D.C. You take a failing program and want to double it up and just allow more I mean, it is the ultimate in the one payer system. It is the ultimate bad healthcare program. I mean, I do wonder if maybe that was the end game from the very beginning.
GLENN: I think it was. How what are the odds? I think this thing's going to pass while everybody's on Christmas vacation.
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: You know, that's they come right down here to the finish line and people are distracted with all the other holiday stuff.
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: You know, they keep us late in the night voting on this stuff and then nobody's paying attention. That's
GLENN: Do you think it's going to pass? Do you think it's going to pass? Will we come back next year and have this thing done?
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: I pray that it doesn't.
GLENN: I do, too, but that wasn't the question. Do you think it's going to happen?
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: I'm afraid it might. I really am. They have got numbers, and until the members of congress in the House and the Senate, until they are afraid of their constituents more than they are afraid of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, this will continue to be a problem.
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: It won't change until that fundamentally, they are if they know that their people in their districts are paying attention.
GLENN: Congressman Chaffetz, thank you so much. We'll talk again.
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: Thanks, Glenn.
GLENN: You bet, bye bye. I want you to know I don't endorse any candidate, I don't endorse any congressman, any senator. I don't trust any of them. But I decided I'm not going to go to I'm going to go to the barrel. I'm not going to keep going. I'm going to go to the tree; I'm not going to go to the barrel. I've stopped looking for people who have been there for a long time. Name the person that has gone to Washington and come back years later as a better person. I can't. So I'm going to go to the freshmen, while they still have an ounce of their soul left, and Chaffetz is one of them. And he really does want to get in there and expose the corruption, and he really doesn't care which side it's on. You wait. We're working on some things. But pay attention, America. Buckle up. It's going to be a bumpy ride.